Kong: Constitution amendment doesn’t mention “biological parent”

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By Emma Victoria

THE State Constitution (Amendment) Bill which was passed in the state assembly recently cannot ensure only a true Sarawakian will contest in state elections as it doesn’t mention a child whose ‘biological’ parent or parents must be born in Sarawak.

Michael Kong, the special assistant to the state DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen, said GPS lawmakers claims that the amendment was to tighten the constitution were untrue.

He said the amendment only mentions ‘parent’ and not ‘biological parent’ and in Black’s Law Dictionary, a ‘parent’ is defined as the lawful father and mother of the person.

“Therefore, the question left lingering in the minds of many is whether the Sarawak Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Taib Mahmud’s step children are qualified to stand for election and be elected as a member of the state assembly?” he asked in a statement.

He said the constitution now states a citizen born in or outside Sarawak, with at least one parent also born in Sarawak and normally residing in the state, can contest in an election.

Kong said Taib’s wife Ragad Kurdi Taib and her two sons from her previous marriage have also been gazetted as natives of Sarawak in 2017. Ragad is also a Malaysian and a registered voter in Sarawak.

“So, does this mean that Ragad’s sons who were born outside Sarawak are qualified to contest in the state election – as one of their parents (Taib) was born in Sarawak and normally resides in the state.”

He said some detractors, including those from the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP)  had tried to argue that Taib was not the biological parent and therefore the amendment does not apply in this situation.

“But, the amendment did not mention ‘biological’ parents,” he stressed.

“With a team of legal officers under the Sarawak state attorney-general office, why can’t the GPS government draft it with more clarity?

“Why does the GPS government purposely leave some ambiguity with the new amendment?” he questioned.

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